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Miami Wagner Institute

Wagner Concert Pulls Out All the Stops
Miami Beach, FL. 7/23/2018

The Miami Music Festival outdid itself yet again with this season’s piece de resistance, the annual Wagner Institute’s performance at the New World Symphony in Miami Beach on Saturday. Entering its fifth year, the Festival makes active strides to expand and surpass with every new season, and fans of the three-year-old, internationally-respected Wagner program were surely not disappointed by this year’s presentation.

Under the baton of Artistic Director and Founder Michael Rossi, the full-sized Festival Orchestra performed the second acts of the renowned works Lohengrin and Die Walküre, with casts that blend veteran Wagnerian superstars, such as Alan Held and Linda Watson, with young professionals who attend the training program to brush elbows and sharpen their chops with famous faculty and co-stars. The festival welcomed Antoine Wagner among the stars on this year’s roster, who, in addition to being the composer Richard Wagner’s great-great-grandson, has made his name as a distinctive international visual artist with an impressive resume.

The second act of Lohengrin starred young singers who acquitted themselves well of their roles, especially the dulcet soprano Megan Nielson, who sang a heavenly Elsa, and Peter Bass as the plotting, acrimonious Friedrich of Telramund. The treat in this half was the thrilling combination of full-sized romantic orchestra and a festival-wide chorus tackling some of Wagner’s finest musical themes.

The turbulent opening themes of Die Walkure were deftly sculpted by the orchestra under Rossi’s conducting, producing a roiling sound that underscored the cold, foggy projections of Wagner’s visual design. Alan Held, who returns for his third year with the festival, sank into his signature role of Wotan with masterful dimension. In contrast to the menace of Held’s Wotan, Vivien Shotwell sang Fricka with a delicacy and tenderness difficult to achieve given the weight of the role (and orchestra). Linda Watson was an energetic Brünnhilde, and Dominic Armstrong sang the hero Siegmund with great warmth, especially in the top of his range.

The highlight of the concert was Wagner’s imaginative visual design throughout Die Walküre’s Act II. Frank Gehry’s New World Center is a breathtaking venue that requires a reconceptualization of space in both stage and visual production, and here Antoine Wagner thrives. In lieu of stage sets, which would be difficult to execute in the space, massive cinematic projections cast across the three ceiling panels that tower over the u-shaped stage. Behind the orchestra and singer-actors, squalls rolled in across a stormy Valhalla as Wotan and Fricka argued; later spectacular Nordic mountain passes gave way to a stark, concrete ruin where Siegmund and Sieglinde rested from their flight from Hunding’s hall.

The combination of visual creativity and live performance, underscored by the wall of sound from the compositional masterpiece, converged into a feast for the senses, making for a truly special evening. The Festival, which runs for 8 weeks from June to end of July every year, has grown in leaps and bounds in its five-year tenure and continues to impress with the quality of musicianship it brings to South Florida and the imagination of each production. After Saturday, it is clear the future of opera and orchestral performance is bright with such creativity steering the way.



A photography exhibition on the Miami Pop Festival which was “where the seeds of Woodstock were sown”. The festival featured Jimi Hendrix, Chuck Berry, Frank Zappa and many others. The photos in the exhibition were taken by Ken Davidoff and took a deeper look at the first rock festival on the East Coast. The opening was marked by live music with special guests Lee Tiger and Leon Hendrix. The exhibition was hosted by and held at HistoryMiami Museum. It is a premier cultural institution that is committed to the gathering, organizing celebrating and preserving the history of Miami. The museum helps everyone to understand the significance of the past in shaping Miami’s future with the help of different kinds of presentations.


The performance took the audience on a journey into the evolution and ancestry of Flamenco. It depicted how the traditional art form originated in Andalusia, Spain in the 18th century and its various characteristics such as the different postures and movements to the rhythm of the castanets. The programme was organized by and held at the South Miami Dade Cultural Arts Centre. The institution aims to nurture local art forms, organizations, artists and audiences in a state-of-the-art environment.


CHIFLÓN, THE SILENCE OF COAL is a play staged by the Silencio Blanco theatre company which is based on a real Chilean community engaged in mining. It is adapted from the story El Chiflón del Diablo by Chilean writer Baldomero Lilo. The play unfolds as a mining shaft collapses and the plot is presented to the audience without the use of any word of text or dialogue. The plot made the play connect with audiences regardless of race, social status, cultural identity or age. Silencio Blanco is a group of seven puppeteers based in Santiago. Their montage represents human sensations through everyday situations and familiar gestures. They present plays that connect with the audience’s thoughts and opinions and make a mark in their minds.


A five-time winner of the DownBeat Collegiate Award, the Frost Latin Jazz Orchestra brought to the audience a performance by Grammy nominee and McArthur fellow Dafnis Prieto. the event was organized by the Frost School of Music. The organization seeks to improve our lives through the study and performance of music.  It is devoted to excellence and a culture characterized by a culture of collegiality, in which diverse people, careers and musical styles are encouraged. The performance consisted of songs from his new big-band album. Also, Alberto de La Reguera will premiere new works for the orchestra to complete an exciting evening of music. The event was held at UM Gusman Concert Hall in Coral Gables.


Vitri Corporation collaborated with local collectors of art and event partners to organize a two-week art exhibition at the company’s headquarters and showroom in Allapattah. The exhibition was graced with artworks and sculptures by artists who have acquired global acclaim such as Carlos Cruz Diez, Anrika Rupp, Carlos Cabezza, Jorge Blanco and many others and had the theme “Living with Art”. The space was designed for giving it the feel of a home environment having photography, mixed media, paintings and sculptures arranged cautiously throughout. The mission of the foundation is to build sustainable, visually appealing and economical structures for impoverished areas throughout the nation. The co-producer and the host of the event were Alban Communications.


Miami City Ballet Program Three took place in a 19th-century ballroom and the ballet was performed to the spectacular music of Tchaikovsky. The cast for the ballet was large and the costumes were lavish. The dance was technically flawless and was serene and enjoyable and ended with a thrilling finale. Miami City Ballet is one of USA’s leading dance companies with a repertoire of more than ninety ballets and more than forty dancers. The ballet was held at The Adrienne Arsht Centre for the Performing Arts.

National Youngarts Week

The National YoungArts Foundation organized its signature program which is aimed at fostering interdisciplinary collaboration between communities besides providing guidance to the finalists to prepare for moving on to the next stage of development. The organization is primarily engaged in identifying and nurturing the upcoming generation of artists in the fields of design, performing arts, literature and visual arts. In the event, the audience experienced the work of gen next artists by performances of jazz, theatre, classical music and dance and also screening of movies. The event was held in multiple locations- the movie screenings at New World Centre, literary events at the YoungArts Jewel Box and the design, photography and visual arts events are the YoungArts Gallery.


An international festival of hip-hop dance theatre which celebrated the origins and evolution of hip-hop culture. It included performances by world champion dance troupes and also a free Block Part featuring dance workshops, installations of graffiti and much more. The programme was presented by the Adrienne Arsht Centre and Knight Foundation at the Adrienne Arsht Centre for the Performing Arts. The organizations assemble in one place, artists and audiences to provide out of the ordinary cultural and educational programmes of the highest standard for a diverse audience.